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Dish AutoHop vs Networks Commercial Skipping Discussion


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#101 OFFLINE   Herdfan

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 03:38 PM

Product placement is getting out of hand too.


I would rather see product placement any day of the week over 6 + minutes of commercials every half hour while watching live TV:)


Seeing a product logo is fine. I would actually rather see a logo than poor attempts to cover it up. Does anyone really not know those are Chevy Suburbans?

But some shows have gone too far. Bones immediately comes to mind with Toyota. They are always playing with some feature in the vehicles. Modern Family did this as well (Claire answered a call on BT and Phil didn't realize it. It was then mentioned she was connected via BT on their new van.) but it was much better integrated into the show and didn't seem like they were forcing the product on you.

Anyone remember Friends and how they all had the Panasonic cordless phones? Subtle works and doesn't take away from the show.

One other thing that bugs me is to use an iPhone mockup of an incoming call on a device that is clearly not an iPhone.

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#102 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 06:45 PM

The really dumb part of this discussion is that by restructuring commercial placement - kind of random for no more than 60 seconds, 45 seconds being the ideal length, but occasionally running longer to keep us confused, with no distinguishing breaks - the networks could eliminate most commercial skipping. I've never really understood the "woe is me" view from advertising supported TV that crams four or more thirty-to-sixty second commercials into blocks of up to 4 minutes.

Please --- NOOOOOO!

It is bad enough that shows build up and pivot over commercial breaks ... with a few seconds overlap in plot on some shows to remind you of what happened right before the break. The breaks change the rhythm of the show ... and now you suggest more of them?

I've attempted to watch movies on commercial channels that seemed to be 50% commercials ... the more breaks the worse it seems.

Where are we now? 18+ minutes of commercials per hour? If one kept the same ratio and one minute breaks that would be a commercial break every 2.3 minutes. I don't see how one could tell a recognizable story in 2.3 minute segments.

#103 OFFLINE   jerry downing

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 09:29 PM

That harkens back to the Golden Era of TV. Remember when the lead cast member would hold up a product and talk about it?


I have videos of Red Skelton from the 1950's. Product placements were the ONLY ads. He would do a Tide ad which was written into the show. I remember Bob Hope doing the same with Texaco.

#104 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 11:27 PM

I have videos of Red Skelton from the 1950's. Product placements were the ONLY ads. He would do a Tide ad which was written into the show. I remember Bob Hope doing the same with Texaco.


Johnny Carson did this too...

I actually don't have any issues with product placement, even when poorly scripted. If companies are willing to pay for it and I otherwise like the show, I think that's the lesser of evils as compared to commercials, banners across the screen, or not having the show be made at all.

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#105 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:58 AM

Somebody on dslreports.com said something that got me to thinking about this in a different way.

Maybe Charlie is playing poker... like usual.

Maybe he expected this backlash... that the networks would say "hey, we need commercials to pay for programming"... and then Charlie can use that at the negotiating table the next time those channels want a rate increase. He can say "do you want a rate increase OR AutoHop skipping your commercials and driving down your commercial pricing?"

Just a thought.

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#106 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 05:06 AM

Maybe he expected this backlash... that the networks would say "hey, we need commercials to pay for programming"... and then Charlie can use that at the negotiating table the next time those channels want a rate increase. He can say "do you want a rate increase OR AutoHop skipping your commercials and driving down your commercial pricing?"

Do you think DISH is planning on giving local stations the choice?
Stations will want the money and DISH will want to keep the feature.
Even without the feature stations want more money.

#107 OFFLINE   LazhilUT

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 08:11 AM

I love the Auto Hop but I think we'll see Dish have a LOT more pricing disputes with these networks because they are now livid at Dish...

#108 OFFLINE   domingos35

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 09:45 AM

why isn't auto hop available on any of my recordings?

#109 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:24 AM

Do the networks hold the rights to the combination of their programming and the commercials?

I don't recall that anyone went after JVC for offering a commercial skip feature on their VCRs back in the day. It worked much the same way: commercials appeared when watching live and were marked with in and out points after the recording had completed.

This doesn't go nearly as far as the self-righteous movie rental companies that engage in editing the daylights out of movies to remove the content that they find objectionable (this has withstood some pretty serious legal wrangling).

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#110 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:28 AM

Are the inmates running the asylum?

Yes.

Pretty much any time businesses use legislation and/or government policy to further its objectives, that's what you get.

Lobbying is the other name for this.

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#111 OFFLINE   Paul Secic

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:58 AM

Please --- NOOOOOO!

It is bad enough that shows build up and pivot over commercial breaks ... with a few seconds overlap in plot on some shows to remind you of what happened right before the break. The breaks change the rhythm of the show ... and now you suggest more of them?

I've attempted to watch movies on commercial channels that seemed to be 50% commercials ... the more breaks the worse it seems.

Where are we now? 18+ minutes of commercials per hour? If one kept the same ratio and one minute breaks that would be a commercial break every 2.3 minutes. I don't see how one could tell a recognizable story in 2.3 minute segments.


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#112 OFFLINE   farmerdave4

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:39 AM

Charlie could be pulling a fast one to help with negotiations.
Remember dish creating a make shift weather channel and removed the TWC from the network. One of the reasons was because TWC had moved away from doing 24/7 weather to being a documentary channel.
Weeks later both companies came to agreement and the new weather channel was gone. I’m still not happy that nothing has changed since then. Maybe The hopper will prove me wrong some day if I ever upgrade.

#113 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:55 AM

Yeah, that one still ticks me off. Somebody bought somebody off there. That deal stunk from day one.
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#114 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:12 PM

Again, keep in mind Auto Hop only works on the top four broadcast network affiliated local channels in each DMA.

These are the channels that have FCC licenses, the ones that Congress has protected up to this point. They are the remnants of the 1958 TV economic model that would be gone today without Congress protecting them.

The overwhelming majority of Congress members running for office right now voted to force most Americans to pay retransmission fees to the local channel owners, some of which is passed through to the networks.

These are the free channels using "our airwaves" which in 1958 most people put up an antenna to receive, assuming Americans would never have to pay a dime to watch these channels. Some people can still do that.

But Congress decided that those of us (actually over 90% of Americans) who subscribe to a cable or satellite provider must subsidize the likes of News Corp, Comcast/NBCU, Disney/ESPN/ABC, and CBS (and keep in mind they all own and operate the local broadcast channels serving the major metropolitan populations).

What Charlie seems to be doing here is forcing the Congressman and two U.S. Senators you elect to say to you, the voters, that they would vote for Rupert Murdoch's interests anytime over your's, you putz.

If the networks and their affiliates challenge Auto Hop in any way, they risk facing Congress which is far more worrisome than the courts.

Charlie does take on some interesting battles.

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#115 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:16 PM

Rupie may have lost considerable influence though over the UK issue. There was talk of stripping him of his ownership rights here.
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#116 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:37 PM

Somebody on dslreports.com said something that got me to thinking about this in a different way.

Maybe Charlie is playing poker... like usual.

Maybe he expected this backlash... that the networks would say "hey, we need commercials to pay for programming"... and then Charlie can use that at the negotiating table the next time those channels want a rate increase. He can say "do you want a rate increase OR AutoHop skipping your commercials and driving down your commercial pricing?"

Just a thought.


We'll that would be a loose loose situation if he took that approach. The only approach I can see is he will offer to charge for the auto hop feature for those that want it and split the costs. But giving people auto hop and then taking it away so he might be able to lower costs of programing, that won't work. The stations will just yank their channels, and make no mistake, if one does it, they will all follow on this one, because they know that they have the biggest bargaining chip. If all the stations leave, dish will go under, or they will cave in to their demands. I really wouldn't sue, I'd just yank my programing.

#117 OFFLINE   jdskycaster

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:41 PM

Even though FFW'd is around an used by all, marketing a feature that bypasses their ads, which are already hurting, is just not a smart move in this market.


Which is why I am glad you are not making this decision for those of us that can see the positive side of this debate and how Dish works to advocate for their customers.

I think you'll see more disputes because if it, or it will be disabled on all or some of the channels which I assume they could pick and choose with software changes..


It is only available on the big four networks now, not any others. Everyone has the right to receive these networks for free OTA. These are the only customers that should have to endure endless advertising barrages. Dish subscribers pay monthly to receive these networks via an alternative method. If Dish dumps them due to an argument over a software feature then so be it. If I want to watch hours of ads I can plug in my antenna.

I dont think the feature is gonna last, I also dont see it as something a user really needs, it's just pissing off networks. Thats my 0.02 anyways.


I have been using it since day one and absolutely love it! It works perfectly and allows me the opportunity to watch a program or two while the remote is out of sight and out of mind. Very refreshing for someone that has been pressing the skip button for more years than I care to remember. I still have my JVC VCR BTW. Sitting on a shelf collecting dust unless DVR's are banned.

As for pissing of the networks I could care less. Do they really act like they care about their primary viewers? NO.

#118 OFFLINE   Darcaine

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 01:30 PM

I agree with inkahauts on this one. The networks don't need to sue, I'm surprised they are even considering it, although they probably want to play the breech of contract/copywrite infringement card first before using their ace in the hole and pulling their programming off dish entirely unless they get vastly higher subscriber fees.

Either way though, the networks are the ones with the power here. They team up and they can pull nearly every channel off Dish over time and cripple Dish.

I expect this feature to be gone by the end of the year, or anyone with a hopper paying out the nose in increased subscriber fees (but then, maybe that's how they should do it, if you want autoskip, you pay extra for it, and those who don't have the option to sit through commercials).

As for product placement, yuck. I would rather be able to get up and walk away from the tv during ads than having them infect my favorite shows and storylines, where I have no choice but to suffer through them. Especially when they are as heavy handed as the Subway placements.

#119 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:08 PM

Do you think DISH is planning on giving local stations the choice?
Stations will want the money and DISH will want to keep the feature.
Even without the feature stations want more money.


True... but it could be used as a negotiating crowbar. IF the networks get steamed about it... Charlie knows they can't legally take it away from him, so he can offer it as a bargaining chip in the negotiations. IF they take a little less then he will disable the feature... OR he can say "see, we have this technology now and can extend it to any commercial channel"...

Charlie could be pulling a fast one to help with negotiations.
Remember dish creating a make shift weather channel and removed the TWC from the network.


Yeah, that's what the dslreports post made me think of... although we didn't really get the better Weather Channel stuff we were "promised", I figure Charlie must have gotten something in exchange for his bluff there.

The stations will just yank their channels, and make no mistake, if one does it, they will all follow on this one, because they know that they have the biggest bargaining chip. If all the stations leave, dish will go under, or they will cave in to their demands. I really wouldn't sue, I'd just yank my programing.


You're forgetting the other side of this. IF those channels pull from Dish, then they lose the ability to count those millions of viewers... so their advertisers will all say "charge us less OR we will pull all of our ads from your channel"... so the choice to yank your channel from Dish is a measured one. Nobody wants to throw away millions of viewers that can't be counted in their advertising charges... so yeah, Dish could be hurt by a bunch of channels leaving but those channels would be hurt too.

Any response here has to be a measured one... because Charlie knows networks aren't going to yank en masse over this.

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#120 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:31 PM

I couldn't figure out why the CEO of Discovery Communications would be interjecting himself into the middle of this. I thought Discovery Communications was pretty much outside the cozy media corporations that own broadcast networks and local channels.

But according to Wikipedia Zaslav worked for NBC Universal 1989-2006. He was President, Cable and Domestic TV and New Media Distribution, from October 1999 to November 2006.

He'd better be careful or four of his channels on the same transponder will be an optional PTAT. Charlie doesn't respond well to people interfering where he thinks they don't belong.

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